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PA – RETAILERS – Are Gun Shops Essential? PA Gov Reverses Amid Nationwide Push For Weapons Access

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D), like many governors nationwide, issued an executive order last week to shutter non-essential businesses across the state to slow the spread of coronavirus. But by Tuesday, he had quietly amended that order to exempt firearms retailers from the blanket closure. His reversal came after three state Supreme Court justices, writing for the minority, argued that his decision would completely shut down all gun sales, since law dictates that the transactions must be made in person. That, they argued, would block Pennsylvanians from their constitutional rights. “Quite simply, if firearm dealers are not able to conduct any business in-person at their licensed premises, then no transfers of firearms can be completed,” wrote Justice David Wecht for the group, pointing out that law requires in-person gun transactions. “This amounts to an absolute and indefinite prohibition upon the acquisition of firearms by the citizens of this Commonwealth — a result in clear tension with the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.” Citing the allowance for restaurants to continue takeout services while their dine-in operations are shut down, Wecht encouraged Wolf to create an allowance for the part of gun purchasing that must be conducted in person to avoid “an impermissible intrusion upon a fundamental constitutional right.”  [full article]

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